Who is an orphan?

The Types of Orphans

Someone recently asked, “Are all the kids in the program orphans?” We couldn’t help but wonder how many people may have this same question. So here is the thing…

When Children of Grace first started out, our focus was to educate orphans. We then discovered that people may lie that a child is an orphan just so they can get help. Now we follow UNICEF guidelines of who is an orphan:

  • Orphan: A child 0-17 whose mother (maternal orphans) or father (paternal orphans) or both (double orphans) are dead.
  • Social Orphan: A child whose parents might be alive but are no longer fulfilling few if any of their parental duties (e.g., drug addicts who are separated from their children with little chance of reunion, parents who are sick or abusive or who, for other reasons, have abandoned or largely neglect their children).
  • Other Vulnerable Children (OVC’S):Children that experience a high probability of negative outcomes, such as the loss of their education, morbidity, and malnutrition, at higher rates than do their peers.

Children of Grace helps all types of orphans. Everyone of our children has a unique story:

Gastus, a six years old boy, lives with his mother and brother. It has been a year since his father abandoned them. His mother doesn’t have a job and is struggling to cater for their basic needs. She depends on others in her village to help feed the children. Sometimes they go hungry. She sold all the items in the house to pay school fees for the children. Now there is nothing left.

Gastus is a social orphan.

According to the US Government and UNICEF, only about 17.8 million of the 153 million worldwide orphans have lost both parents. Many maternal and paternal orphans don’t live in orphanages or other institutions. Instead they live with other relatives or community members.

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